8 strategies you need to know before attempting the Reading & Writing; Fill in the Blanks questions of the PTE test


R&WFIB is the first part of the Reading section of the PTE test. This section takes the lion’s share of the points in the Reading section. Each candidate will have 4-6 pages of R&WFIB items. Each page contains 4-6 four multiple choice questions.

The best strategy for success in Reading and writing; fill in the blanks questions is to memorize as many collocations as possible. Otherwise, do as many questions as you can on our PTE practice platform (thepte.com). We believe practice makes perfect.

Also, it is helpful to simplify a given sentence by overlooking extra information included and looking into its basic grammatical structure. This way you are not distracted by any trivial or even unrelated pieces of information, and you can comprehend the question better and consequently have a better chance of choosing the right answer.

Here is an example:

So basically, this question can be simplified as:

These new technologies (facilitated / vacillated / anticipated / evaporated) major advances.

Types of questions

We can divide the questions in Reading and Writing; Fill in the Blanks (R&WFIB) of the Reading section into two broad types which focus on vocabulary and grammar, respectively.

Grammar based questions

Grammar-based questions constitute only less than 5% of all questions in R&WFIB.


In the above example, the answer is While because in the accompanying sentence, there is the word also which shows ‘while’ is not synonymous with ‘although’ or any other contrasting adverbs.

Vocabulary-based questions

Almost all vocabulary-based questions are revolving around collocations and phrases in the English language.

As you know, for every R&WFIB gap, there are 4 options. One is the answer and the other options are distractors. Let’s categorize the collocation type of questions based on the type of distractors used for every right answer. I start with the most common ones.


Example 1:

Here, the collocation for civil strife, which represents a negative concept, is plagued and all three distractors are synonyms by degrees, but only plagued collocates correctly with this notion.

Example 2:

In this question, the first adjective of the headmaster is hard which is often considered as a negative concept in school contexts. Therefore, the second adjective should be negative, too. Except for deliberative which has a positive meaning, the other options are negative concepts. Therefore, deliberative is eliminated. Out of the remaining options, unsympathetic collocates with the headmaster.

Example 3:

In example 3, peacekeeping collocates only with operations.

Example 4:

In example 4, the active form of the sentence (simplified form) would be: We observe United Nation Day on October the 24th.

Example 5:

In this sentence, among many others is a common collocation.


Example 1:

In example 1, memorable collocates with dishes and the other distractors are the opposite of memorable, except for developed which is neutral.

Example 2:

Here, among the options, only inspired collocates with create and the rest of the options are the opposite of inspired.

Example 3:

In example 3, surpassed is the answer and reduced has an opposite meaning. (Tip: if you see two opposite words in the options, seek the answer among them)


Example 1:

Here, we first simplify the sentence into its basic structure which is:

Many peaks gave the …. of greater height.

The collocation is to give illusion. The other options just sound the same as the answer.

Example 2:

In example 2, the expression to leave no stone unturned has been the base of the question and, of course, the answer is unturned and the other distractors are homophones or semi-homophones of the answer.

Example 3:

In this example, facilitated collocates with advances.


Example 1:

In example 1, the verbal collocation for peacekeeping is engage. Hence, engages is the answer.

Example 2:

In this example, based on the rules of Fill in the blanks; Reading, you need a verb in the form of Past Participial (PP). Therefore, two of the choices are irrelevant, and the answer will be published.

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